The classic World War II fighter plane flown by a veteran Hollywood stunt pilot crashed into spectators at about 16:30 local time (23:30 GMT) at the National Championship Air Races earlier today, killing at least four people and injuring more than 70 spectators.
The glorious event – where the P-51 Mustang, flown by 74 year old Jimmy Leeward, corkscrewed out of control without warning and disintegrated on impact as it nosedived into the ground – draws thousands of people every year in September to watch various military and civilian planes race. But this year, rather unfortunately, instead of some spectacular flying stunts, only a bulk of bloodied bodies was seen at the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada.
After hitting the ground the plane shattered into pieces, sending shrapnel and debris into the crowd.
Mike Houghton, the air races president, said at a press conference that 54 people had been hospitalized, but said he did not know of their condition.
A medical official earlier said 25 had been critically injured in the crash, with organizers describing it as a “mass casualty situation.”